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Dr. David Kohl Fuels Up 2017 PDPW Business Conference

March 15, 2017
Contact: Shelly Mayer
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Dr. David Kohl Fuels Up 2017 PDPW Business Conference
MADISON, WIS. – The Professional Dairy Producers® (PDPW) 2017 PDPW Business Conference is underway in Madison, Wis. Dr. David Kohl, Professor Emeritus, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Virginia Tech kicked off the 25th Anniversary Business Conference yesterday with a motivating keynote message for the conference attendees.
As one of the first presenters at the inaugural PDPW Business Conference 25 years ago, Dr. Kohl took a few moments to reflect on how the organization has grown and changed with the industry. “Our parents and grandparents had to manage volatility and we will have to manage volatility in the extremes," Kohl said. “While that presents challenges, it creates many opportunities for the business person who is well prepared for the future.” 
In order to prepare for the future and fuel up for the high road, Dr. Kohl encouraged the group to plan, strategize, execute and monitor their business functions. To assist with this process, he introduced the acronym RELAX. First, he urged them to be resilient as they develop their plan, execute that plan as they strive for excellence, develop liquidity to capitalize on opportunities, possess a positive attitude during both industry and non-industry interaction and play for the x-factor to plan for the unintended consequences.
Dr. Kohl went on to cite specific areas to monitor when preparing for the road ahead in the dairy industry, starting with the global economies in Europe, China, Japan and Brazil, whose trade markets are critical to dairy success. Next is oil prices and its impact on commodities. More inflation, higher interest rates and the duration of a strong U.S. dollar must also be considered. Finally, the impact of weather on supply and demand will also be a critical factor for the dairy industry.
Looking ahead to the trends for the next 10 plus years, Dr. Kohl identified key factors that will likely drive trends in the dairy industry. The global economy, consumer trends, innovation and technology and the millennial generation top the list. The other major players will be non-government organizations, the disconnect between consumer and producer, and the transition of the dairy business to the next generation.
With these factors in mind, Dr. Kohl emphasized the importance for dairy producers to plan, strategize, execute and monitor their business plan. His strategies for success include: drive toward efficiency with every business model, capitalize on domestic and global mega trends, surround yourself with talent, make financial and business acumen a high priority, prepare for transition management, engage the non-farm community, pursue continuing education and plan for unintentional consequences.
“Getting better before you get bigger is an important part of this success process,” Dr. Kohl said in closing. “But keep in mind not to let the numbers rip the heart out – lead with your heart. When you ask any dairy farmer what is most important to them, it’s not about the profits or the operation, it’s all about their family and their children.”
The 2017 PDPW Business Conference is brought to you by the Professional Dairy Producers®. Dairy producers from around the world gathered to engage in professional development and network with each other and other industry professionals. To learn more about the 2017 PDPW Business Conference and to see the 25th Anniversary Celebration photo and video coverage, visit or follow the social media presence with #myPDPW.
Professional Dairy Producers (PDPW) is the nation’s largest dairy producer-led, grassroots organization of its kind, focusing on education, networking and professional development to shares ideas, solutions, resources and experiences that help dairy producers succeed.